Flyover country? Hardly. This corner of the state will inspire you to take flight with its rich aviation history linked to Amelia Earhart, who was born just steps from the banks of the Missouri River in Atchison. Visit her birthplace and a statue of the aviatrix in the International Forest of Friendship. Learn about Kansas’ Native American tribal culture or sip a specialty cocktail in an underground speakeasy in Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas. Connect to the state’s Civil War history in Lecompton, or add to your art collection as you browse the boutiques of Topeka. Wherever you land in the region, you’re never far from Kansas City’s legendary barbecue joints. Dig in!
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This natural spring was an oasis for early emigrants headed west in the 1800s. Today it’s a sanctuary for nature-lovers. Walk the ¼-mile trail to see the springs and a waterfall spilling over rock formations.
The birthplace of famed pilot Amelia Earhart sits just a block from the Missouri River. Take
a self-guided tour through the Gothic Revival cottage where Earhart was born in 1897 and lived until she was 12 years old.
Meet Muriel, an original 1935 airplane that’s identical to the plane Earhart flew around the
world. Interactive exhibits are slated to arrive in 2022 at this new museum, which fittingly sits next to an airport terminal.
Whenever you’re in the mood to pair your shopping with a Chardonnay, Brick Street has you covered. Browse a wide selection of home decor and furniture with a glass of wine or a signature cocktail from the bar.
Named for former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, this space on the University of Kansas campus is home to a museum gallery and the Kansas veterans WWII memory wall, plus a vast collection of archival material from Dole’s life.
The historic fort overlooking the Missouri River features art installments and a multiuse trail where hikers, bikers and on-leash dogs roam. Take a self-guided audio tour to learn about military sites or conquer the 18-hole golf course.
Tribal cultures and traditions are preserved and celebrated on the Haskell Indian Nations University campus. A military exhibit honors Native American veterans, and visitors can walk through vast collections of microfilm, art and archival material from the museum’s collections.
This regional favorite for fresh apple cider and doughnuts started as a roadside cider stand in 1977. Check the schedule to plan your visit around live music and food vendors, or stop by any time to shop the country store stocked with apple goodies of all kinds.
Take a trip to the 1860s and visit a working farm—no time machine required. Kids can see horses, chickens, sheep and other livestock and go for stagecoach rides throughout the year.
Massachusetts Street—Mass Street to the locals—forms the hub of downtown Lawrence. Buildings along these blocks date back to the mid-1800s. Pick from restaurants like 715 for European-inspired fine dining and The Roost for indulgent breakfast and lunch dishes (including three different spins on the classic eggs Benedict). Shopping treasures include The Raven Book Store and Phoenix Gallery.
Get up close to a T. rex with augmented reality or try your hand at a science experiment at the strikingly designed museum, which often showcases traveling exhibits that ignite the imaginations of both kids and adults.
Explore agricultural machinery in the 20,000-square-foot Museum of Farming and walk through the Smith House, which offers a glimpse into daily life during the 1890s.
Spread out across 300 majestic acres, the arboretum and gardens are home to more than 1,700 plant species. Hike the grounds along 6 miles of trails that snake through bluffs, formal gardens and a sculpture garden.
The Plaza cinema isn’t just a charming spot to catch a flick—it’s the oldest operating purpose-built cinema in the world. The theater has shown films since 1907, and the on-site Memorabilia Museum is home to film props, costumes, scripts, signed photographs and other unique artifacts from the silver screen.
This family-run bakery’s roots trace back to 1903. The specialty is povitica, an eastern European delicacy. Try the original English Walnut, with nuts folded into butter, honey and sugar, then hand-rolled into a swirly pastry loaf.
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Before your big tour of Topeka, check into the Cyrus Hotel, a perfect base camp for exploring downtown. The boutique property’s decor is sleek and industrial, with exposed pipes and dark, elegant finishes in common areas and rooms. For more inspired design, head to the NOTO
Arts and Entertainment District, an eclectic enclave of art galleries, shops and restaurants. The district draws big crowds for the monthly ARTSConnect First Friday Artwalk.
At nearby Evergy Plaza, a splash pad, firepit and live music bring locals and visitors together. The outdoor fun continues at Kaw River State Park, a lush escape with hiking and mountain biking trails that snake through an oak-hickory forest. Afterward, get schooled in Kansas history at the State Capitol or visit the Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site for an immersive trip back in time. Order a drink from the retro soda fountain or walk through
a replica of an 1854 log cabin along the Oregon Trail.
Unleash your wilder side at the Topeka Zoo and get up close to animals large and small, including majestic mountain lions and colorful macaws. Stroll through the zoo’s new Kay McFarland Japanese Garden to find moments of zen. In the evening, treat yourself to dinner at The White Linen, a cozy fine-dining establishment that also offers expertly paired wines with
each dish. The five-course tasting menu features French-inspired cuisine made with local ingredients. For something more casual, try Bobo Drive In. The classic American burger joint, opened in 1948, comes complete with carhops and Formica-topped booths.
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Hungry? You won’t be for long in Kansas City. Fuel up at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant, a family-favorite spot where the food arrives to your table via overhead train. Stop in for pancakes and eggs or drop in later in the day for a burger cooked to order. For the ultimate foodie adventure, embark on the KCK Taco Trail. Sign up online to receive your taco passport, which includes a map of more than 50 restaurants serving authentic Mexican fare, including barbacoa tacos at San Antonio Carniceria. Pair tacos, tortas and tostadas with frozen treats from Paleterías Tropicana.
When you’re ready for fresh air, walk near the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers at Lewis and Clark Historic Park at Kaw Point. Enjoy wooded trails and stop at the interpretive signs describing the Lewis and Clark expedition that arrived here in 1804. To get above it all, head to Zip KC in neighboring Bonner Springs. Fly across forested hills on a total of nine lines, reaching speeds up to 50 mph.
For retail explorations, head to Legends Outlets, a shopping paradise with more than 100 designer stores and restaurants, plus a movie theater. Head downtown for an inspired stroll along Minnesota Avenue, home to the Avenue of Murals Project starring eight works by 30 high school students.
'Cue the Legends - BBQ HeavenBack to Top of List
You haven’t done KC until you get a little world-famous barbecue sauce on your face.
The original Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que is tucked into a gas station, but don’t let the humble surroundings fool you. The smoked meats have earned crowds and dozens of accolades over the years. At Slap’s BBQ, two brothers serve locally sourced and smoked burnt ends, brisket, sausage and more. Woodyard Bar-B-Que is another famous purveyor of fine meats and sides; the family-run restaurant has been in business for more than 50 years and has drawn the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fieri.
Discover the other five adventure-filled regions of Kansas in the 2022 Official Kansas Travel Guide.
Uncover more incredible sights, tastes and sounds across the state in the 2022 Official Kansas Travel Guide.